This doesn’t qualify as breaking news, just confirmation of bad news: This year’s Apple Cup, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. in Pullman on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, is believed to mark the latest in a day the game has ever started.
In other words, pack the moon boots and the mittens. The long-range forecast I found doesn’t include Saturday the 29th, but it calls for a high of 35 on Friday and a low of 23, and — keeping in mind such predictions can be iffy so far out — the forecast lows the previous two nights are in the upper teens.
That ought to make punting a football fun.
Publicists at the two schools, Bill Stevens at WSU and Jeff Bechthold at Washington, believe no Apple Cup has started this late. Stevens went back to 1973 and could find as the latest only a 4:30 start, which was three years ago when the Huskies were playing that season at CenturyLink Field. Latest in Pullman was at 4 p.m. in 2004, a game originally scheduled for 5 p.m. by ABC but moved up an hour.
As Bechtoldt points out, the first true night game in Husky Stadium history was the memorable 1992 game with Nebraska (the 1985 opener with Oklahoma State was a rare 5 p.m. start). Not so long ago, remember, night games there were frowned upon by UW athletic directors because of blowback from the Montlake neighborhood. Of course, that was before TV started holding sway.
I can recall mini-controversies about 20-25 years ago when Washington protested WSU allowing for a 4 p.m. kickoff in Pullman to accommodate TV in the state. Right now, 4 p.m. sounds positively civil.
If this is confirmed the latest kickoff since at least 1973, I think we can assume it’s the latest ever — unless, a century ago, they were teeing it up under the lights in the days of WSU’s Lone Star Dietz and Washington’s Gil Dobie.
I doubt it.